Grant-funded Initiative will work to remove barriers for underserved minority and rural communities
Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland (FAKH) announced today a new Diversity Initiative to better assist underserved minority and rural communities in the food bank’s 42-county service area. The initiative is funded through a Phase 3 Grant from Feeding America National Organization (FANO).
“While we strive to provide food for all people in our service area facing hunger, regardless of ethnicity, gender or age, our goal is to make a concerted effort to better reach out to those underserved minority and rural communities that may hesitate to ask for help because of a lack of communication and trust,” said Jamie Sizemore, FAKH executive director.
FAKH’s new Diversity Initiative involves three phases of action: serving pockets of impoverished Black and Hispanic populations by working to remove barriers for underserved minority communities; addressing food deserts in rural populations in their service area that have limited access to healthy food sources; and maintaining the initiative by creating long-term, sustainable solutions that advance overall intentionality.
To better meet the needs of impoverished Black and Hispanic communities in FAKH’s service area, the agency has announced it is actively seeking to hire an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Liaison, funded through the Phase 3 Grant. The goal is for this person to help increase FAKH’s capacity to assist underserved ethnic populations, Sizemore said.
“There can be a lot of mistrust in these communities, which creates a challenge when our services are needed,” she said. “We expect the EDI Liaison we hire to create partnerships in specific locations of greatest need in our service area and to seek out ways we can remove barriers and improve services.”
Sizemore said they are in search of someone with demonstrated success in relationship building among diverse communities. For more information and to apply visit feedingamericaky.org/employment. Application deadline is March 10.
In addition, FAKH’s Diversity Initiative involves prioritizing ways to reach pockets of underserved minority groups through extra food distributions and mobile food pantries as well as providing food storage options that allow partner agencies to store adequate supplies of perishable food – especially important in food deserts.
Finally, FAKH will work to create real, long-term, sustainable courses of action that build on efforts to strengthen outreach to underserved minority communities with limited access to healthy food sources, Sizemore said, including by creating a specific fundable element for the agency’s EDI Initiative to continue the momentum.
“Our work is just beginning,” she said. “We want all communities in our service area to have access to healthy food and to feel comfortable visiting our partner agencies when they are facing hunger. That starts with us – with making a concerted effort to communicate with these populations and learn what they need from us, and to remove any barriers that prevent them from seeking our assistance when needed.”
To support FAKH’s EDI Initiative, visit donatenow.networkforgood.org/feedingamericaky and designate your donation toward Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives.